McDermott gets the boot
Reading sacked manager Brian McDermott yesterday as the Premier League strugglers look to breathe new life into their bid to avoid relegation. McDermott led Reading into the top-flight as Championship winners last season, but he has paid the price for failing to lift the Royals away from the bottom three. A 2-1 home defeat against fellow strugglers Aston Villa on Saturday proved the final straw for Reading owner Anton Zingarevich and just 48 hours later the club released a statement confirming McDermott had been dismissed. “Reading Football Club has announced today the departure of manager Brian McDermott,” a statement on the club’s Web site read. “Owner Anton Zingarevich wishes to place on record his thanks to Brian who had achieved great success with the club since taking over as manager in December 2009. Brian gained promotion to the Premier League last year for only the second time in the club’s history thanks to a remarkable run at the end of last season. However, in our current situation, owner Anton Zingarevich felt that a change was necessary.” Whoever takes over at the Madejski Stadium will have to work quickly to save Reading, who are currently second bottom of the table with just five wins from their 29 league games this season.
Granada, Zaragoza draw
Granada ended a run of three successive defeats to grab a 0-0 draw at fellow strugglers Real Zaragoza in La Liga on Monday, leaving both sides mired in the battle to avoid relegation. The visitors had a couple of chances to score through Odion Ighalo, but there was little else to separate the sides in a contest short on inspiration and littered with misplaced passes. Granada stayed 16th on 27 points with 11 games left in the season. Zaragoza, yet to win this year, are 17th with 26 points, two ahead of the relegation places.
Conte confident after hearing
Juventus coach Antonio Conte said he was absolutely certain he would face no further action after being interrogated by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) Disciplinary Commission over a match-fixing scandal on Monday. The 43-year-old was accompanied by three lawyers as he answered questions over a Serie B match in the 2008-2009 season involving the side he coached at the time, Bari, against Salernitana. According to the justice authorities in Bari there are suspicions the match was fixed. However, Conte, who earlier this season served a four-month suspension for failing to disclose knowledge of match-fixing during his time at Siena in the 2010-2011 season, was adamant he would not be facing further questioning or charges over the game. “I believe I have clarified everything,” Conte said. “Am I afraid of being charged? Absolutely not.”
Tension high ahead of game
Heightened security was due to be deployed yesterday for a Japanese team’s match in Nanjing, where the worst atrocities of the invasion of China by Japan’s Imperial Army took place. Tensions were expected to be high on the pitch for the AFC Champions League game between Japan’s Vegalta Sendai and China’s Jiangsu Sainty. It is thought to be the first senior men’s soccer game involving a Japanese team in Nanjing, where invading troops launched a brutal massacre in 1937. “The players have privately said ‘We all know the significance of facing a Japanese team at home in Nanjing,’” said the jiangsu.china.com Web site, the online mouthpiece of the local government.